“A Healthy State of Panic” by Farnoosh Torabi Book Review
In my many years writing about money, I’ve seen the name Farnoosh Torabi plenty of times. From hosting the So Money podcast to writing books like When She Makes More to her numerous media appearances, she’s easily one of the most recognizable figures in the personal finance community. That’s why I was excited when I received an email bringing my attention to the fact that she had a new book coming out. That book, titled A Healthy State of Panic: Follow Your Fears to Build Wealth, Crush Your Career, and Win at Life, was released today — meaning I can finally share my review.
Full disclosure: the publisher of the book did give me access to a digital galley copy. However, I was not provided with any other compensation and this review is completely my own.
As you may have guessed from the full title, A Healthy State of Panic is all about fear. In turn, each chapter looks at a different type of fear. Some examples include fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, fear of failure, fear of uncertainty, and, capping off my list, the fear of endings. Even the popular “fear of missing out” (AKA FOMO) gets its own dedicated chapter. However, in most of these cases, Torabi preaches the idea of embracing our fears — or, at the very least, understanding what our fears are really telling us.
To highlight each fear type, Torabi includes a number of stories from her own life. These range from childhood to adulthood, including some fun stories involving media personalities you just might have heard of. For me, these anecdotes were perfectly woven into the fabric of the book and kept it engaging. They also served to better explain some of the book’s concepts. A prime example of this occurs in the very first chapter where Torabi shares how a colleague of hers managed to use their fear to map out a better career path than the one they initially envisioned.
Although the book isn’t just about finance, it should come as no surprise that the topic does come up frequently. Most directly, chapter six is titled “The Fear of Money.” Naturally, this particular chapter happened to be one of my favorites — not just because of the subject matter but also because it contained one of the most personal stories involving Torabi’s parents that I thought was really beautiful.
If there’s any criticism I have of the book it is that, at times, I felt as though I lost sight of what the central thesis was. In some instances, it seemed as though the point was to overcome certain fears rather than embrace them. There is a fine line there and perhaps I misread (or read too far into it), but I did find this slightly confusing. Despite this, though, I still gained many takeaways from the book and have even been sharing them with my wife in the weeks since I first finished reading it.
Even if it’s not strictly a book about money, Torabi’s A Healthy State of Panic has a lot to say about money, our relationship with it, and how fear in several other parts of our lives can influence our financial lives as well. Beyond that, the book is filled with entertaining, emotional, and memorable stories from the author that are sure to resonate with readers of all backgrounds. Personally, I appreciated the unique approach the book takes and the insights it shares. For those reasons, whether you want to better understand your fears, your finances, or yourself, I find A Healthy State of Panic easy to recommend.